Monday, May 8, 2017

Depression Isn't "Just" Anything

My depression is no shower for a week because the energy to do that is too much.

My depression is 
"Have you eaten today?" 
"I had a hot pocket and some mints." 
"GO. EAT." 
"I will." 
"Do it now." 
My depression is no sheets on the bed because putting even the fitted sheet takes more time than just draping my blanket over the top and sleeping on top of that.

I was "too happy to be depressed" when I was 15. 

I didn't understand what I was experiencing because no one talks about depression, especially among teenagers.

And, like so many 15-year-olds, I was "above" mental illness because I "wasn't like other teenagers."

Whatever the fuck that means. 

Some days are really, really good and I think maybe it was just a phase.

"Just a phase" is a really bittersweet pipe dream, for me. (I hope it's different for you, reader.)

Gods, I wish someone had told me when I was younger that IT IS OKAY TO TAKE COMFORT FROM "FRIVOLOUS" PURSUITS. 

Fuck, if your depression is eased by video games and TV shows and movies, or board games or collecting rocks (I'm a fan of rocks, myself): THAT IS OKAY. THAT IS WONDERFUL.

Like, goddamn, be fucking proud of yourself for finding a healthy and enjoyable way to cope with your depression. 

Sometimes it's hard to tell if I need to isolate myself or actively immerse myself in social interaction in order to cope with my depression. I try to do some serious self-reflection when I feel myself instinctively withdrawing. 

Is this going to be helpful to me or will this actually prolong this session (for lack of a better term)? The answer varies, and sometimes I'm wrong.  

Having friends who are also neurodivergent in various ways (personality disorders, depression, anxiety, etc) is so validating and helpful in a lot of different ways. Different coping mechanisms, clear communication to avoid hurdles, checking in with each other to make sure we're all getting what we need.

It's not perfect. There are plenty of times when we clash and misunderstandings happen and the different ways we see the world and experience and communicate can result in tangled wires and hurt feelings. But we work hard to untangle them and we understand each other in a way that neurotypicals tend to miss the mark on.

Your depression is valid, whether you're formally diagnosed or not.
Your depression is valid, whether you're taking meds or not.
Your depression is valid, whether others believe you or not. 

(I believe you and I'm here for you.) 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Some Gender With Left Girl

I know this is meant to be a blog primarily dedicated to writing, but screw it. It's my blog and damn it, I'll talk about what I want to talk about.

Today, I want to talk about gender. 

I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I say "lately" and you probably think the last week or so, but in reality I've been thinking about my own gender for around a year now. 

A while back, I had a series of thoughts that led me to the conclusion that I am not cisgender. (I'm not going to go into Gender 101 in this post, but there's a lot of information on the Gender Wiki, which I link to below.) 

I won't go into too much detail, but suffice to say that I don't entirely know what "woman" is supposed to feel like but I don't think it really fits. I said to a friend the other day that "woman" feels like a shirt 18x too big and I feel swallowed by it. But I am also not masc-aligned in the slightest. I do not experience masculinity in any way and feel no affinity for labels under the transmasculine umbrella. I do experience the "feeling of gender" (whatever the fuck that means) most of the time. But I also occasionally do not experience gender at all -- but agender doesn't feel like a term that fits either. 

Around the tail-end of 2016, I was researching nonbinary labels -- at the time, I was trying out "femme" as a gender identity and while I liked it, it still felt kind of incorrect -- and I stumbled on demigirl. 

A quick definition from the Gender Wiki: 

Tumblr n176r6j6281r5b1yro1 500
demigirl (also called a demiwoman or a demifemale person) is a gender identity describing someone who partially, but not wholly, identifies as a woman, girl or otherwise feminine, whatever their assigned gender at birth. They may or may not identify as another gender in addition to feeling partially a girl or woman.
Demigirl can be used to describe someone assigned female at birth who feels barely connected or disconnected to that identification, but does not experience a significant enough dissociation to create real physical discomfort or dysphoria. Demigirl can also describe someone assigned male at birth who is transfeminine but not wholly binary-identified, so that they feel more strongly associated with "female" than "male," socially or physically, but not strongly enough to want to identify as as a woman.
Demigirls may also identify as demigendernon-binary and/or transgender and can be any age. Demigirl come from "demi" meaning half in french. The male contrapart is demiguy.

I really grokked to this and it felt right. It felt good to finally have a word that made me feel like me. And most of the time, I generally do feel like a girl. But every so often, I experience this swing into something else and I don't have a word for it but having a word that encompasses my fluctuating state is amazing and so, so, so validating.

Now, despite identifying as a non-binary gender, I don't currently identify as transgender. By definition, if you do not identify with the gender you were assigned at birth, you are trans.

That said, for me personally (and your mileage may vary) I feel uncomfortable calling myself trans. For a number of reasons, but most notably because nothing about how I live my life has changed with discovering a term for my gender.

My pronouns are still primarily she/her (though I am absolutely fine with they/them) and my gender presentation is still very much femme-leaning. I am an AFAB person who still identifies as femme-aligned 83% of the time.

And as much as I love the term "conditional privilege," I don't feel as though it applies to me on this. Because I present exactly the same as I did when identifying as cisgender and no one would know that I'm nonbinary without my explicit explanation, I do not experience transphobia. So I have a hard time with attaching that label to myself -- it feels very much like appropriating a level of oppression that I do not experience.

Now -- keep in mind that nonbinary is a gender experience under the transgender umbrella, and most NB folks I know also identify as trans, and that is 100% valid. This is simply my own experience and not indicative of anyone else's experience or opinions.

It's an issue that I admittedly go back and forth on for myself, believe me.

What about you guys? Do you also identify as nonbinary but not trans? If so, feel free to share in the comments or @ me on twitter! I'd love to know the thoughts of other nonbinary folks on this issue.

Til next time!